If (like myself) you live in Lubbock or you at least keep up with local Lubbock news, then you may have heard about Proposition A, which, if passed, would allow the City of Lubbock to “take all actions necessary to permanently abandon the land and buildings used and known as the Lubbock Municipal Auditorium-Coliseum.” The city will put the proposition to a vote on May 5th (early voting has already begun) and if it passes, ownership of the land and buildings will be pass to the university as stated in the original proposal when the Colosseum was first built. If Texas Tech acquires the facilities, the university plans to demolish both buildings and potentially turn the space into parking and/or athletic dorms.
The Colosseum was first built in 1954 and opened in 1956. It was the home of the Texas Tech men’s basketball team from 1956-1999 and the women’s team from 1976-1999 before the United Spirit (Supermarkets) Arena was opened.
Outside of Tech, the arena was home to the Lubbock Cotton Kings (Hockey) from 1999-2007, the Lubbock Renegades (Arena Football) and the Texas Chaparrals (an ABA basketball team that would eventually become the San Antonio Spurs) from 1970-1971.
In addition to sporting events, the colosseum has played host to Aerosmith, Ozzy Osborne, Tim McGraw and even Elvis Presley.
The colosseum has been a topic of hot debate among the residents of Lubbock as well as those close to the university.
The argument for keeping the colosseum
The Colosseum has been a fixture of Lubbock and Texas Tech since it was first built. It has housed some of the greatest basketball teams in Tech history including the 1993 National Champion Lady Raiders.
Despite the university moving it’s basketball and volleyball programs to the USA, the colosseum still houses events such as the ABC Pro Rodeo which as of today doesn’t have another place to go.
Another argument that has been made isn’t necessarily about whether to tear down the colosseum but about whether the university should pay the city for the property rather than receive it for free. Basically if Tech is going to acquire these facilities then the university should pay for it, something the university should be able to afford given Tech generates $5 million a year in revenue from the parking that it leases from the city for $38,790 a year.
The argument for abandoning the colosseum.
The facilities are in poor condition and even if the city votes to keep the facilities, there is nothing to suggest that there is any interest in renovating the colosseum. The last time any renovations were made was in 2000 when the roof was replaced. The city has no interest in putting money into to facilities so if the proposition fails, the colosseum will more than likely continue to sit and decay. If the buildings require any major repairs such as the HVAC system going out, the city is unlikely to pay for repairs which means the building would be unusable for an indefinite period of time.
I have many fond memories in the colosseum. I attended my first ever Tech game in the mid 90s there as well as numerous Lubbock Cotton Kings games. There is a lot of nostalgia within the colosseum which is a problem, because nostalgia often clouds judgement. The Colosseum has served Texas Tech and the city well since it was first built but even if it were to be renovated, it’s still an old, outdated arena. It only holds about 10 events a year and no amount of renovating will ever change that. It’s simply too small for big name events and too big for everything else. As far as the idea of selling the property to Texas Tech goes, I would be in favor of that and I know Tech could easily afford that.
The problem is that that isn’t an option today and if the proposition fails, the Colosseum could sit another 20 years before anything is done with it. This is politics after all. Texas Tech has already agreed to pay all demolition costs and I think that is more than enough in this case.
We all love the Colosseum, but it’s time to say goodbye and this is the best way to do it.
What’s your take?
Should the Coliseum be demolished?
This poll is closed